By Sonya Rehman
It took independent painter, Laila Rahman, nine days to complete the large (12.5 feet in height and 9.5 feet in width), oil on canvas backdrop for the Urdu adapted version of Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ – a production that was performed at The Globe in London.
“It was great fun to do,” states Rahman, an Associate Professor, part of the Fine Arts department at the National College of Arts (NCA), in Lahore. Working with Rahman were also two fresh graduates from NCA, Zara Asghar and Anushka Rustomji, who worked for over four hours a day on the backdrop in Rahman’s courtyard.
Depicting the Old City of Lahore and set in “the 70s and 80s, on a spring day during Basant season,” the canvas, a vibrant depiction of the city, features a view of the quaint Badshahi Mosque, kites in the sky, subjects such as a child selling mangoes, rickshaws (with captions such as; ‘pappu yaar tang na kar’), etc.
Interestingly, with the culmination of the play in England, Rahman states that the backdrop is to be donated in gratitude to the Globe Theatre as a gift from Pakistan.